Wednesday, June 1

Does Information Provide Evidence for A Divine Creator?

Information is essential for life. It makes up the four-letter DNA code (ATCG), it is something we can convey through word of mouth, writing, and electronically. Information is also what you are reading right now. Loads of information, more than any compact disc or computer, is currently being processed in your internal network - your brain. But what is information, why is it important, and does it provide evidence for a divine creator? In this entry, we will seek the answers. (Photo credit: ODEC)

In July of 2006, Dr. Werner Gitt proposed a universal definition of information, consequently, a team of scientists met to evaluate this definition, known as the Universal Definition of Information (UDI). This was based upon Dr. Gitt's book, In The Beginning Was Information. According to the team, there are four attributes that define UDI, these include: Code (syntax), Meaning (semantics), Expected Action (pragmatics), and the Intended Purpose (apobetics). The definition was then formulated, "[information is] An encoded, symbolically represented message conveying expected action and intended purpose."[1]

Since information is a necessity for all life processes, it can be stated that information is an essential characteristic for of all life. To be sure, all efforts to explain life processes in terms of nothing more than the physical and chemical sense is always unsuccessful. It is this fundamental problem that confronts present-day secular biology. Materialism the the presupposition by which secular humanism and atheism are based upon, which essentially states that the only thing which exists is mass an energy (usually simply referred to as matter), that the supernatural does not exist, including God, and that nothing exists which is non-material.

Madalyn O'Hair, in What on Earth Is an Atheist!, writes, "We atheists... try to find some basis of rational thinking on which we can base our actions and our beliefs, and we have it... We accept the technical philosophy of materialism. It is a valid philosophy which cannot be discredited. Essentially, materialism's philosophy holds that nothing exists but natural phenomena... There are no supernatural forces, no supernatural entities such as gods, or heavens, or hells, or life after death."[2] What O'Hair is conveying is that she believes materialism cannot be refuted, that materialism is a perfect supposition, without flaw. However, materialism fails to account for one thing: information.

In fact, Dr. Werner Gitt, in his book In The Beginning Was Information, adequately points out: "At this stage we want to point out a fundamental fallacy that has already caused many misunderstandings and has led to seriously erroneous conclusions, namely the assumption that information is a material phenomenon. The philosophy of materialism is fundamentally predisposed to relegate information to the material domain, as is apparent from philosophical articles emanating from the former DDR (East Germany) [S8 for example]. Even so, the former East German scientist J. Peil [P2] writes: 'Even the biology based on a materialistic philosophy, which discarded all vitalistic and metaphysical components, did not readily accept the reduction of biology to physics. . . . Information is neither a physical nor a chemical principle like energy and matter, even though the latter are required as carriers.' Also, according to a frequently quoted statement by the American mathematician Norbert Wiener (1894–1964) information cannot be a physical entity [W5]: 'Information is information, neither matter nor energy. Any materialism which disregards this, will not survive one day.'"[3]

Gitt continues, "The German biologist G. Osche [O3] sketches the unsuitability of Shannon’s theory from a biological viewpoint, and also emphasizes the nonmaterial nature of information: 'While matter and energy are the concerns of physics, the description of biological phenomena typically involves information in a functional capacity. In cybernetics, the general information concept quantitatively expresses the information content of a given set of symbols by employing the probability distribution of all possible permutations of the symbols. But the information content of biological systems (genetic information) is concerned with its ‘value’ and its ‘functional meaning,’ and thus with the semantic aspect of information, with its quality.'"[4]

Information within all forms of communication contains a code, which contains a set of symbols used for letters, symbols, words, or phrases, which represent something else. The English alphabet, computer codes, the codes used to program your iPod or cell phone, syntax, hieroglyphics, etc., are all forms of codes, which are forms of information. Each of these are non-material. Material sources can be precluded as sources of original information, as our very DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) contains a four letter code, which is information. Cellular information itself is stored within our DNA. To note, DNA in merely one cell holds the equivalent of approximately 8,000 books containing information.[5]

In fact, the human body holds about 100 trillion cells, each of which contains a strand of DNA which can be uncoiled to be about three meters long, and if the DNA in a human were all strung together, it would stretch from Earth - to the sun and back - upward of seventy times, which is a significant amount of information. A single cell alone requires thousands of bits of information to fully assemble a DNA strand.[6] It is very difficult to account for information in a materialistic view. "The information-storage capacity of DNA far surpasses even the most powerful electronic memory systems known today. Molecular biologist Michael Denton notes that, for all the different types of organisms that have ever lived, the necessary information in their DNA for the construction of their proteins 'could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all the information in every book to be written.' But DNA does not just store information. In combination with other cellular systems, it also processes information. Hence Bill Gates likens DNA to a computer program, though far more advanced than any software humans have invented."[7]

According to Second Law of Information (L12), "Information can only originate from an intelligent sender."[8] Information has to be formulated by a sender, it is illogical and irrational to accept that information can arise from non-information, or that something can come out of nothing. Now, how else can we determine whether or not information is non-material? Consider a compact disc (CD). If the CD is weighed, and it is a blank CD, then it is filled with information, perhaps pictures or music, and weighed once more, will it weigh any different? While technically, the polarity may have slightly shifted, the two weights remain the same. If you erase or add information to the CD, its weight - its mass - does not change. This same information can just as easily be transmitted via a book, smoke signals, a whiteboard, a chalkboard, or many other similar things.

The information itself is independent of the original source. Since information is a nonmaterial entity, it cannot be a property of matter, and is, as noted, non-material or immaterial. This disagrees with the definition of materialism, which is the basis for humanism and atheism. Information is non-material, therefore, there does exist something that is non-material. Also understand that there is no law of conservation of information of information. Take a whiteboard for example. Information can be added - and removed - from the white board, it is not always conserved.

As history has evidenced, for two people to communicate efficiently, there has to be some agreement in the language (or code) which is being utilized. Essentially, a sender and a receiver. Consider now the example given by Mike Riddle, "Imagine for a moment that it is your mother's birthday and you want to wish her a happy birthday, but you are stuck in an area without power. You know her friend a couple of miles away has power and knows Morse code. So you build a fire and begin using smoke signals to spell out Morse code for your friend to call your brother to have him send an e-mail on your behalf to your mother for her birthday. Information went from you to the smoke signals directly to your friend's eyes and from your friend's mouth through sound waves to the phone receiver then through electronic signals in the phone to your brother and back into sound waves for your brother to hear it."[9]

Riddle concludes, "Then the information went through his fingers and was transferred into code on the computer and again through electronic means to your mother who received the information on her computer screen as an understandable concept - Happy Birthday. Nothing material actually transferred from you to your mother, but information did, which shows that everything isn't material... Therefore, if a third entity can be shown to exist, then materialism and all philosophies based on it must be false. Information is this third fundamental entity."[10] Hurbert Yockey, in Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life, states, "The genetic information system is the software of life and, like the symbols in a computer, is purely symbolic and independent of its environment. Of course, the genetic message, when expressed as a sequence of symbols, is nonmaterial but must be recorded in matter and energy."[11]

Does DNA, the code found within all living systems, exhibit the attributes of the UDI? For one, no information system designed by man can begin to compare with the complexity of the programming and coding the DNA. The decoded portion of DNA, as aforementioned, contains a four-letter sequence: ATCG, which make up three-letter words known as codon, which are subsequently arranged in a syntax. (1- Code) Now, each of these three-letter words represents one of twenty amino acids which we use in life. The DNA sequence provides a specific sequence of amino acids within protein formation. (2 - Meaning) The cellular proteins are essentially biomachines which are used for construction, for function, as well as reproduction of the organism. (3 - Expected Action) All of these things work together to enable to existence of life as we know it (4 - Intended Purpose).[12]

DNA fits the four attributes of the UDI. According to Johnjoe McFadden, "A billion universes each populated by billions of typing monkeys could not type out a single gene of this genome."[13] This is a significant statement, and we are led to several conclusions. DNA agrees with the UDI, therefore we can presume that there must be a sender, the density and complexity of the DNA encoded information is billions of times greater than our modern technology, therefore we can presume the sender must be extremely intelligent, as well as purposeful; information is nonmaterial, and since it cannot purely originate from material, it must come from a nonmaterial component (Spirit); information originates from man, therefore part of man is nonmaterial (Spirit); information is nonmaterial, and we may be led to conclude that the originator of information must itself be outside of the universe, it must have caused the universe.[14]

Essentially, our conclusion is this: whatever originated information, which is nonmaterial, must also have a nonmaterial component. God is Spirit, as Jesus reminds us, in other entries we have provided arguments for the existence of God, the Creator of information and of the universe fits the attributes of the God found within the Bible, which has been wonderfully preserved via manuscripts over the past 3400 years, Jesus is a historical figure and in terms of His resurrection, the only explanation that agrees with all the evidence is not the swoon theory, not the hallucination theory, not the wrong tomb or stolen body theory, but the physical - bodily - resurrection of Jesus, but demonstrating His deity as God in flesh.

It is not unreasonable or illogical to believe in God. Rather, it is illogical to believe that nothing caused the universe to spring into something. Founded upon the basis of materialism, which we have illustrated is not as "rock hard" as some make it out to be, materialism stands on shaky grounds. 

Troy Hillman

[1] Riddle, Mike, and Ken Ham. The New Answers Book 2. 5th ed. 2. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books, 2009. 198. Print.
[2] O'Hair, Madalyn. What on Earth Is an Atheist!. Austin, Texas: American Atheist Press, 1972. 39-40. Print.
[3] Gitt, Dr. Werner. "Chapter 3: Information Is a Fundamental Entity." Answers In Genesis. Answers In Genesis, 12 March 2009. Web. 1 Jun 2011. .
[4] Ibid.
[5] McDowell, Josh, and Sean McDowell. The Unshakable Truth. 1st ed. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2010. 61. Print.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Hill Roberts and Mark Whorton. Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding Creation. Nashville: B & H Publishing, 2008. 323. Print.
[8] Gitt, Werner. In The Beginning Was Information. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books, 1997. 106. Print.
[9] Ibid, [1]. 196-197.
[10] Ibid, [1]. 197.
[11] Yockey, Hurburt. Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 7. Print.
[12] Ibid, [1]. 204.
[13] McFadden, Johnjoe. Quantum Evolution. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002. 84. Print.
[14] Ibid, [1]. 205-206.

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